Tuesday, August 31, 2010

NH teen who zapped nipples during shop class sues

I forget - do you actually have to die to be a real Darwin award nominee? (I know, I know, I shouldn't have laughed.)

NH teen who zapped nipples during shop class sues

Kyle Dubois and his parents claim teacher Thomas Kelley did not warn Dubois and other students of the dangers of the electrical demonstration cords in their electrical trades class.

On March 11, Dubois attached an electrical clamp to one nipple while another student attached another clamp to the other. A third student plugged in the cord.

Dubois was critically injured.

The New Hampshire Union Leader says Dubois' suit contends he suffered permanent brain damage.

I'd hate to be the one who had to prove that his brain worked better before than after...

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Potential Energy: Generating Power from Electricity in the Air

Is John Galt's engine possible?

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Monday Pythagorean Report - 8/30/2010

A 3-3 week that's a preview of the remaining five weeks of baseball - not enough offense to beat good pitching, struggling "aces," and a team that's playing out the string without half of its opening day position players, including its two best.

  • I said last week that, barring a massive fluke, the Red Sox were not going to make the playoffs. Yes, they are mathematically still in it, but they're too wounded for it to happen. They're still likely to win 90+, and finish with one of the top 6-8 records in baseball, better than at least a couple of playoff teams, but they aren't going to be one of them themselves.
  • During the offseason, there was a lot of talk about this being a "bridge" year, and a lot of people who thought that the team that the front office put together was inadequate, that it wouldn't produce offensively, that it wasn't as good as Tampa or New York, and that it wouldn't make the playoffs. Those last couple of items are going to end up being technically correct ("the best kind of correct") but the people that said them were completely wrong. If this team had Dustin Pedroia for 150 games instead of 75, Kevin Youkilis for 150 instead of 102, and Jacoby Ellsbury for 150 games instead of 18 (six healthy), they'd be ahead of Tampa right now. That's before even considering Mike Cameron, who played 48 games, none of them while healthy, or the three weeks they played with the top four catchers in the organization all on the DL. This was just "one of those seasons." We've seen its like before - 2005 had a similar flavor for a period in August, and 2001 was epic just like this, but that's just the way it happens sometimes. They've got nothing to be ashamed or embarassed about - it's just the way that it went.
  • The ejection of Adrian Beltre from Wednesday night's game is perhaps the single-most inexcusable action that I've ever seen from an umpire. He was facing into the Mariner (3rd base) dugout, from his position at third, talking in Spanish to his good friend Felix Hernandez, and the home plate umpire was so insecure and power-drunk that he threw him out. If he didn't cost himself a possible MLB career, he should have. Or at least cost himself a good long time before it starts, because he's clearly not ready for prime time. It's not that I think Beltre's presence would have made a difference in the outcome, because I don't. I don't think that they were going to win that game with or without him. But he's been the best hitter on the team of those that are still healthy, and there was no legitimate reason for him to be thrown out. The crowd wasn't sitting in the rain to watch Dan Bellino.
  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Victor Martinez, who hit .417/.400/.792/1.192, and almost single-handedly won the first two games of the Tampa series. It's not his fault that there was no one on base for any of his three home runs.
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Jon Lester, who, coming off the disastrous debacle a week earlier, was stellar over seven innings in the one game that the Red Sox didn't manage to give away to the Rays.






AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 8/30/2010
ProjectedActual
R/G(rank)RA/G(rank)Pythagorean(rank)WLWLLuck
New York5.36(1)4.11(4)0.62(1)81498050-1
Tampa Bay4.97(3)3.85(2)0.614(2)805080500
Minnesota4.8(5)4.03(3)0.579(3)76557556-1
Texas4.85(4)4.2(5)0.565(4)735773570
Chicago4.74(6)4.2(5)0.555(5)72587060-2
Boston5.02(2)4.53(9)0.547(6)725974572
Oakland4.05(11)3.79(1)0.531(7)68616564-3
Toronto4.65(7)4.4(8)0.525(8)686268620
Detroit4.5(8)4.6(10)0.49(9)646765661
Los Angeles4.38(9)4.6(10)0.478(10)636863680
Cleveland4.02(12)4.85(12)0.414(11)54765377-1
Kansas City4.09(10)5.28(14)0.386(12)508055755
Seattle3.25(14)4.3(7)0.375(13)498151792
Baltimore3.68(13)5.08(13)0.356(14)478448831

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
New York10062
Tampa Bay10062
Minnesota9369
Boston9270
Texas9171

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
New York10062
Tampa Bay10062
Minnesota9369
Texas9171
Boston9171

Standings for the week
ProjectedActual
R/G(rank)RA/G(rank)Pythagorean(rank)WLWLLuck
Detroit6.71(1)3(2)0.814(1)6143-2
Oakland4.83(4)2.17(1)0.813(2)5142-1
Chicago6(2)4.5(11)0.629(3)4233-1
Boston3.5(9)3.17(5)0.546(4)33330
New York5.67(3)5.5(12)0.514(5)33330
Baltimore3(12)3(2)0.5(6)33421
Tampa Bay4.33(5)4.33(8)0.5(6)33421
Cleveland4.17(6)4.33(8)0.482(8)33330
Minnesota2.86(13)3(2)0.478(9)34340
Texas3.57(8)4(7)0.448(10)34431
Los Angeles3.17(11)4.33(8)0.36(11)2415-1
Seattle2.5(14)3.5(6)0.351(12)24240
Toronto3.86(7)5.57(13)0.338(13)25432
Kansas City3.5(9)7.5(14)0.199(14)15241

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Let’s Regulate Barney Frank’s Pay

A great suggestion from David Boaz:

Since Barney Frank entered Congress, federal spending has risen from $590 billion in 1980 to $3.7 trillion this year. The annual deficit has risen from $74 billion to $1.5 trillion. Gross federal debt rose from $909 billion to $13.8 trillion — and to over $15 trillion next year. And all this without a major war or depression during those 30 years.


Maybe we should adjust pay practices for members of Congress to give them an incentive to avoid risky, unaffordable, out-of-control borrowing and spending.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Quote of the day

This didn't strike me the first time that I read it, 20 years ago, the way that it does today.
[No] natural or improved ability can claim immunity from the companionship of the steady, plain, hard-working qualities, and hope to gain its end. There is no such thing as such fulfilment on this earth. Some happy talent, and some fortunate opportunity, may form the two sides of the ladder on which some men mount, but the rounds of that ladder must be made of stuff to stand wear and tear; and there is no substitute for thorough-going, ardent, and sincere earnestness.
- Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It's the economy, stupid...

This will not be appreciated in some precincts. I'll confess that it amused me...


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Monday, August 23, 2010

The House election landscape - 8/23/2010

Patrick Ruffini asked what the current House election landscape looks like, Jim Geraghty obliged with an answer. Geraghty divided the competitive races into five color coded groups. I turned his colors into percentages, and came up with the following projection:

Competitive House Races - 8/23/2010
Geraghty's LabelNumber of seatsPercentageR- Wins
BLUE: GOP Should Win1390%11.7
GREEN: GOP Has Good Chance of Winning2875%21
YELLOW: GOP Chances About 50-503650%18
ORANGE: GOP Should Win With Luck or Wave:2225%5.5
RED: GOP Will Need a Wave and Some Luck:610%0.6
Total10556.8

Geraghty may or may not agree with my percentages, but they seemed like a conservative reading of his color-coded groups. And he's suggesting (well, my interpretation of his analysis is suggesting) a 56-57 seat pickup for the Republicans in November...


(BTW, if you're interested in what's going on in the 2010 campaign, and you aren't reading Jim Geraghty's Campaign Spot every day, well, you should be...)

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'We're not the other guys' isn't good enough, GOP

I've got a disagreement with the Washington Examiner's editorial - 'We're not the other guys' isn't good enough, GOP: - today:

That is why it is critically important for congressional Republicans to put forward a concrete agenda before the election as an alternative to that of big-spending congressional Democrats. Instead, Republicans appear satisfied to fall back on a one-plank platform: "We're not the Democrats." That won't cut it because, as pollster Scott Rasmussen recently told the Wall Street Journal, the GOP will benefit from voters' desire to oust the party in power, but "75 percent of Republicans say their representatives in Congress are out of touch with the party base. Should they win big this November, they will have to move quickly to prove they've learned lessons from the Bush years."
They're conflating two completely different things here. The first is running, the second is governing. "We're not the Democrats" is obviously not going to cut it once they win back the House. But for right now, putting up specific agenda items allows people to specifically target them. "We're not the Democrats" gives them a chance with anyone who is upset with the Democrats, and that's a sizeable majority right now. Given where they are at the moment, specific agenda items are more likely to cost votes than win them. The country needs to take some strong medicine, and describing that medicine, and the specific procedures involved, aren't going to be pleasant. They'll certainly need an agenda upon taking office, but today, they're best bet to take that office is to continue hammering the disastrous policies of the Reid-Pelosi Congress and the Obama administration. Outlining, for example, programs to save Social Security and Medicare, if that's what they intend to do, just gives Democrats a chance to scream about them cutting those programs, while also turning off those who'd like to see them gone.

How did the Democrats win in 2006 and 2008? "We're not the Republicans." To the extent that they had specific policy positions, they were just "anti-" - anti-Iraq War and anti-Guantanamo Bay. Well, the Republicans are anti-stimulus and anti-Obamacare and anti-big Democratic government spending. To the extent that Obama did run on a positive platform in 2008, it was a platform built of lies. His policy on taxes was that there wouldn't be any increases for those making less than $250,000, his policy on health care was that "if you like you're health care, you can keep your health care." Lies, brutal blatant lies, but lies nonetheless. Anti-Republican and dishonest messaging is how the Democrats won.

So it's not "critically important for congressional Republicans to put forward a concrete agenda before the election" - it's critically important that they win the election, and whatever strategy is best for that is the strategy that they should be pursuing. It looks to me as if that's what's happening. Continue to bang on the Obamacare drum, the stimulus drum, the debt and deficit drums. If it isn't a specific policy agenda, it's certainly an implied policy agenda, and one to which they'd best be committed. Rasmussen's comment that "should they win big this November, they will have to move quickly to prove they've learned lessons from the Bush years" is certainly true, but that doesn't mean that they should be putting specifics on the table today. They shouldn't be doing anything today that doesn't help them win in November. The time for governing comes after that. They'd better be ready when they take the oaths in January, they should be working on it behind the scenes today, but today's messaging should be all about whatever message is going to be most effective in helping them win.

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Jobs Take Second Place, Again

Great quote from this Commentary piece, Jobs Take Second Place, Again:
The administration turns out to have less credibility than Big Oil.

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Monday Pythagorean Report - 8/23/2010

I've been very consistent in saying, as long as I've been doing this, that winning 2-of-3 is sufficient, in the long run, to make the playoffs. More than sufficient. But sometimes it's not good enough in the short run. That's where we are now - 4-2 isn't good enough.

  • It's all over.

    This isn't pessimism, it's realism. Yes, mathematically it's still possible for the Red Sox to catch one of the two teams ahead of them. They've got enough games left with each, and there are still seven left between the two, so it's very feasible.

    But.

    The simple fact is that, regardless of the inherent qualities of the three teams, the Red Sox that are going to take the field for the next six weeks are not as good as the Rays and they are not as good as the Yankees. As constructed, when the season started, they were. As they currently exist, they are not. They are not good enough to make up this deficit without Youkilis and Pedroia and Ellsbury and Cameron. They're playing without four of their opening day starters and, given that they were loaded when the season started, they're still a good team. But they're not a good enough team.

    The starting pitching wasn't as good as it was supposed to be (Beckett and Lackey in particular) and the bullpen has had issues (Okajima and Ramirez and Delcarmen and Papelbon have all been slightly to significantly worse than expected) but despite all of that, they'd still be in this race if they'd been relatively healthy. They haven't been. They played three weeks with 5th and 6th string catchers, they played three weeks without Pedroia AND Martinez AND Ellsbury, they're going to end up playing the last eight weeks without Pedroia AND Youkilis AND Ellsbury, and there's no team that can survive that kind of degradation.

    They'll be mathematically in it for the next couple of weeks. If they could somehow go into Tampa and sweep next weekend, it'll even look realistic. But it isn't. Not anymore.

    Am I saying that they can't make the playoffs? That they won't make the playoffs? No. I'm saying that if they somehow do make the playoffs, it'll be a massive fluke, because they've played miles over their heads for the last six weeks of the season, or the Rays or Yankees have completely collapsed.
  • I generally avoid the "psychoanalysis" method of performance analysis. Generally. Friday's shellacking at the hands of the Blue Jays, as Dustin Pedroia headed back to the DL, had the look and feel of a team conceding, acquiescing to its fate. They haven't, as the last couple of days have shown, but it sure looked like it.
  • Red Sox Player of the Week - David Ortiz hit .381/.500/.762/1.262 on the week. Honorable mention to Darnell McDonald, who, at .455/.571/.818/1.390 had better rate stats, but only had about half of the plate appearances.
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Clay Buchholz started twice this week. He went seven innings without allowing a run and six innings without allowing a run.


AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 8/23/2010
ProjectedActual
R/G(rank)RA/G(rank)Pythagorean(rank)WLWLLuck
New York5.35(1)4.04(3)0.625(1)78467747-1
Tampa Bay5(3)3.83(1)0.62(2)77477648-1
Minnesota4.91(5)4.09(4)0.583(3)725272520
Texas4.92(4)4.21(6)0.571(4)70536954-1
Chicago4.68(7)4.19(5)0.551(5)68566757-1
Boston5.1(2)4.59(9)0.548(6)685771543
Toronto4.69(6)4.33(7)0.536(7)66576459-2
Oakland4.02(11)3.87(2)0.517(8)64596162-3
Los Angeles4.44(8)4.61(10)0.483(9)606562632
Detroit4.37(9)4.69(11)0.468(10)586661633
Cleveland4.01(12)4.88(12)0.411(11)51735074-1
Kansas City4.12(10)5.17(13)0.398(12)497553714
Seattle3.29(14)4.34(8)0.376(13)477749752
Baltimore3.71(13)5.18(14)0.352(14)448144810

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
New York10161
Tampa Bay9963
Minnesota9468
Boston9270
Texas9171

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
New York10161
Tampa Bay10062
Minnesota9468
Texas9171
Boston9171

Standings for the week
ProjectedActual
R/G(rank)RA/G(rank)Pythagorean(rank)WLWLLuck
New York6.57(1)3.71(2)0.74(1)52520
Tampa Bay5.57(3)3.71(2)0.677(2)52520
Chicago6.17(2)4.83(7)0.61(3)4224-2
Toronto4.83(5)4(4)0.586(4)4224-2
Detroit4.86(4)4.29(6)0.557(5)43430
Oakland3.86(10)3.43(1)0.554(6)43430
Kansas City4.83(5)4.83(7)0.5(7)33421
Baltimore3.71(12)4(4)0.466(8)34340
Seattle4.17(9)4.83(7)0.433(9)33330
Boston4.5(8)5.33(11)0.423(10)33421
Minnesota4.67(7)5.67(13)0.412(11)24422
Los Angeles3.83(11)4.83(7)0.396(12)24240
Texas3.57(13)5.71(14)0.297(13)25250
Cleveland3(14)5.5(12)0.248(14)15150

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Moral Myopia at Ground Zero - Krauthammer

Moral Myopia at Ground Zero

It’s hard to be an Obama sycophant these days. Your hero delivers a Ramadan speech roundly supporting the building of a mosque and Islamic center at Ground Zero in New York. Your heart swells and you’re moved to declare this President Obama’s finest hour, his act of greatest courage.
Alas, the next day, at a remove of 800 miles, Obama explains that he was only talking about the legality of the thing and not the wisdom — upon which he does not make, and will not make, any judgment.
You’re left looking like a fool because now Obama has said exactly nothing: No one disputes the right to build; the whole debate is about the propriety, the decency of doing so.
...
At least Richard Cohen of the Washington Post tries to grapple with the issue of sanctity and sensitivity. The results, however, are not pretty. He concedes that putting up a Japanese cultural center at Pearl Harbor would be offensive, but then dismisses the analogy to Ground Zero because 9/11 was merely “a rogue act, committed by 20 or so crazed samurai.”
Obtuseness of this magnitude can only be deliberate. These weren’t crazies; they were methodical, focused, steel-nerved operatives. Nor were they freelance rogues. They were the leading, and most successful, edge of a worldwide movement of radical Islamists with cells in every continent, with worldwide financial and theological support, with a massive media and propaganda arm, and with an archipelago of local sympathizers, as in northwestern Pakistan, who protect and guard them.
It's a good piece, as is usually the case for Krauthammer pieces, but there's a sub-head to the title that caught my eye:
Supporters of the mosque fail to see its true significance.
That statement is false.  But to see it, we have to divide people not into two groups, but three.  It's easy to talk about there being "supporters" and "opponents" but that's too simplistic.  There are supporters, and that group consists of the people trying to build the mosque (community center, learning annex, whatever else they're calling it today) and their supporters, many, if not most, of whom are overseas in the "Muslim street."  There are definitely opponents, who feel that the site is inappropriate and insensitive to the feelings of Americans who lost loved ones (and most other Americans as well).  I think it's fair to say that most of the people in both of those groups see and understand the "true significance."  

But there's a third group, and that's the group that does doggedly and determinedly "fail to see its true significance."  Those are the American liberals, who cannot be truly said to be supporters of the mosque, because they really don't care whether it's there or not.  (Many of them would tend, as a default position, to be against places of worship rather than for them, too.)  No, they "support" it only because the opponents oppose it.  They aren't supporters, they're "opponent-opponents."

They aren't in favor of the mosque, they're in favor of calling their more conservative American brethren "bigots," because that makes them feel morally superior.  It gives them an opportunity to exercise their dudgeon, flaunt their moral superiority and cast the same aspersions at conservatives that they always cast - that the conservatives are intolerant, closed-minded, bigoted racists.  They don't care that the true supporters are calling it Cordoba house, after the site in Spain that represented the high point of the Muslim penetration of Europe, that they planned to open it on September 11, 2011, that every Islamist in every corner of the earth would look at it as marking an important Muslim victory.  No, the "nuanced" thinkers of the American left, those who can find racist code words in a discussion of whether "taxes" are too high, are perfectly happy with blatant anti-American, anti-freedom symbolism as long as they can maintain a fig leaf of neutrality and beat on conservatives as bigots.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Extreme

Some of the money being sent to the various Republican party campaign organizations is being well spent...

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93 days to go...

November 2010 - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 1

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

LA Times vs. strawman

The Obama administration's attacks on the media
It is a popular conservative myth to suggest that the "mainstream media" is a liberal lapdog to the Obama administration, that reporters favor the president and that he returns the admiration. In fact, this administration has pursued a quiet but malicious campaign against the news media and their sources, more aggressively attacking those who ferret out confidential information than even the George W. Bush administration did.
Nice job, LA Times. Stick a false clause onto a true statement in order to decry a "conservative myth" even while chastising the Obama administration. Let's go to the instant replay, shall we?
It is a popular conservative myth
No, it's not. The popular conservative belief is true, with overwhelming evidence to support it, and the "myth" the LA Times presents here is not a belief that is popular, or even common, among conservatives.
to suggest that the "mainstream media" is a liberal lapdog to the Obama administration
"Liberal lapdog" is a figurative expression, but assuming we read it as "biased towards the administration and its policy goals, and against those of his political opponents," that's obviously true.
, that reporters favor the president
That's obviously true. Every survey done re-established it as fact.
and that he returns the admiration.
Excuse me? What conservative anywhere, anytime, has said that Obama "returns the admiration" of the lapdog press? No one, nowhere, no time, no way no how. He's treated the press with contempt. It's one of the defining characteristics of the canine nature of the media - he treats them like dogs, and they sit up and pant, waiting to show approval for whatever he does next.

The LA Times is so in the tank for the political left in this country that it can't even get through the first paragraph of an Obama-negative editorial without lying about conservatives...

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Monday, August 16, 2010

"Those Voices Don't Speak for the Rest of Us"

I miss the Gipper...

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Monday Pythagorean Report - 8/16/2010

In purely objective terms, absent contradictory context, there's nothing wrong with going 4-3 on a seven game road trip through Yankee Stadium, Toronto and Texas in 2010, especially when missing your two best position players. And yet, there's no solace in that to be found this morning, none whatsoever.

  • I looked up "frustration" in the OED, and it said, "ad. L. frustr{amac}ti{omac}n-em, n. of action f. frustr{amac}r{imac} to FRUSTRATE - The action of frustrating; disappointment; defeat; an instance of this." And then showed a picture of a Boston Red Sox cap.
  • OK, not really. But it could have. This 4-3 week could so easily have been a 5-2 week or a 6-1 week or even a 7-3 week. Not only were all of the losses easily winnable, two of them took some special performances to lose. They took a three run lead into the ninth inning on Thursday and lost. They took an 8-2 lead on Friday and lost. Even in Sunday's loss, in which they never held a lead, Manny Delcarmen allowed a two-out, three-run homer which took the Texas lead from two to five immediately before Boston scored three.
  • And the injury frustration continues, as Jacoby Ellsbury heads back to the DL, almost certainly done for the year.
  • They finally got a very good performance from Lackey, and Papelbon coughed up the win.
  • Speaking of that game, I'm going to indulge in a what seems like second guessing, but isn't, because it was my reaction at the time, before the fact. I thought Lackey should have been left in the game on Thursday. He wasn't yet at 100 pitches, and yes, he just gave up a HR, but it was to the Major League leader in HR, and the lead was still two. If they were going to yank him after a lead-off HR in that situation, they shouldn't have had him start the inning at all, in my opinion. That, of course, didn't cost them the game, because Papelbon stunk - that was his fault and no one else's. But I didn't like the move.
  • They are still in the Wild Card race, but they really cannot afford another week in which the gap goes up instead of down. There's time, but not a lot of time, and they're in the race right now because Tampa's had a poor two week stretch. Boston cannot keep treading water - they need to start dropping the deficit, which they had opportunity to do on Thursday and Friday, and they failed. Tampa's losses this week kept them in the race, but their own losses prevented them tightening it up. They've only got seve more weeks, and need to make up nearly a game per week. They are perilously close to the point at which they'd need to sweep their six remaining games with the Rays.
  • It's been a Murphy's law season thus far, but they can still play October baseball if they can play to their potential for the next month and a half. Certainly the anticipated return of Dustin Pedroia tomorrow will help, but he can't do it himself. They need Jonathan Papelbon and Josh Beckett, in particular, to earn their salaries in the next 43 games if they want to play a 44th and a 45th.
  • Red Sox Player of the Week - J.D. Drew, who hit .333/.407/.875/1.282 on the week, with four of his eight hits being home runs. He also walked three times and stole a base. (And drove in six, for those RBI people out there.) Lowrie and McDonald were both a little bit better on a per plate appearance basis, but for many fewer plate appearances. Drew had both quality and quantity of production.
  • Red Sox Lester of the Week - No, wait a minute, that should read Red Sox Pitcher of the week. Easy mistake to make. Jon Lester was outstanding twice, allowing no runs over 6 2/3 in the Bronx and 8 in the Texas heat, and dropping his ERA for the season to 2.80.


AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 8/16/2010
ProjectedActual
R/G(rank)RA/G(rank)Pythagorean(rank)WLWLLuck
New York5.27(1)4.06(4)0.617(1)724572450
Tampa Bay4.97(4)3.84(1)0.616(2)72457146-1
Minnesota4.92(5)4.01(3)0.593(3)70486850-2
Texas5(3)4.12(5)0.588(4)68486749-1
Boston5.13(2)4.55(9)0.554(5)665367521
Chicago4.6(7)4.15(6)0.547(6)655365530
Toronto4.68(6)4.35(8)0.534(7)625562550
Oakland4.03(12)3.9(2)0.515(8)60565759-3
Los Angeles4.47(8)4.6(10)0.487(9)586160592
Detroit4.34(9)4.71(11)0.463(10)546357603
Cleveland4.06(11)4.85(12)0.42(11)50684969-1
Kansas City4.08(10)5.19(13)0.392(12)467249693
Seattle3.25(14)4.31(7)0.373(13)447446722
Baltimore3.71(13)5.25(14)0.346(14)417741770

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
New York10062
Tampa Bay9864
Texas9468
Minnesota9369
Boston9171

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
New York10062
Tampa Bay9963
Minnesota9468
Texas9468
Boston9171

Standings for the week
ProjectedActual
R/G(rank)RA/G(rank)Pythagorean(rank)WLWLLuck
Tampa Bay4.33(7)2.67(2)0.709(1)42420
Minnesota4.83(3)3(4)0.705(2)42511
Los Angeles3.17(11)2.5(1)0.606(3)42420
Boston5.57(2)4.43(9)0.604(4)43430
Baltimore4.43(6)3.57(7)0.597(5)43430
New York3.71(9)3.29(5)0.556(6)4334-1
Texas5.6(1)5(10)0.552(7)32320
Seattle3.17(11)3.33(6)0.477(8)33421
Cleveland4.5(5)5.17(12)0.437(9)3324-1
Chicago4.71(4)6(14)0.391(10)3425-1
Detroit4.33(7)5.67(13)0.38(11)24331
Toronto3.5(10)5(10)0.342(12)24331
Oakland1.83(14)2.67(2)0.335(13)2415-1
Kansas City2.43(13)3.71(8)0.315(14)25250

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

"Obama Shrinks America"

Kathryn Jean Lopez is quoting Bill Kristol this morning on the President's response to the proposed ground zero mosque.

For Obama, 9/11 was a “deeply traumatic event for our country.” Traumatic events invite characteristic reactions and over-reactions–fearfulness, anger, even hysteria. That’s how Obama understands the source of objections to the Ground Zero mosque. It’s all emotional. The arguments don’t have to be taken seriously. The criticisms of the mosque are the emotional reactions of a traumatized people...Obama (like Bloomberg) doesn’t feel he even has to engage the arguments against the mosque–because he regards his fellow citizens as emotionally traumatized victims, not citizens who might have a reasonable point of view.

Kristol's absolutely right, of course, as far as he goes. But he could go much further. Obama's approach to this is the very archetype of the Liberal "Progressive" response to every concern of American citizens with which the left differs.

Gun control? We don't have to respond to their arguments, because they're just "bitter, clinging to God and guns..."

Abortion? We don't have to respond to their arguments, because they're just misogynists.

Affirmative Action? We don't have respond to their arguments, because they're just racists.

Gay Marriage? We don't have to respond to their arguments, because they're just bigots.

Illegal immigration? We don't have to respond to their arguments, because they're just racist bigots.

Deficit spending? We don't have to respond to their arguments, because they're just greedy and heartless.

(And, oh yes, the President is black and they're racists and bigots.)

Health care reform? We don't have to respond to their arguments because they're just greedy and heartless racist bigots.

Taxes? We don't have to respond to their arguments because "taxes" is a racial code word and they're just greedy and heartless racists.

If your political opponent is a racist or a bigot or a misogynist, you don't need to explain yourself - his point of view is worthless by default, so you don't have listen to it, never mind address it. Nearly every "argument" from nearly every Democratic politician is a linear descendant of Teddy Kennedy's inane, insane, but unfortunately effective Robert Bork statement.

It's easy to understand the appeal, of course. If all of your arguments are ad hominems, well, you always win! And, of course, winning the ad hominem argument automatically makes you the better person, and relieves you of actually having to construct logical and intellectual arguments. As Andrew Klavan put it, the liberal argument reduces to "shut up." And if the interface between you and the American people - the media - agrees with you, well, you never, ever get called on it.

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YouTube - Runaway Slave Movie Teaser

YouTube - Runaway Slave Movie Teaser

A documentary long overdue...

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Friday, August 13, 2010

A Downright Mean Job

A Downright Mean Job - Victor Davis Hanson looks at a piece in the NY Times which sympathetically examines the "plight" of the former or soon-to-be-former members of the Obama administration...
Yesterday, the New York Times had a puff piece on the “exhausting” nature of White House work, pegged to the recent wave of administration departures...The Times wants to draw a sympathetic portrait of the heroic Obama cadre that suffers so much on our behalf. These are six-figure jobs that wear out one’s hands on the Blackberry, true, but serve as valuable stepping-stones to even higher-paying corporate jobs. And this is still a recession. This raise-the-bar griping will not go down well with the coal worker in Montana, the welder on a 30-story scaffold, or the oil worker offshore.
Of course, it's not like any of those people are in the NY Times target audience. The New York Times audience is Manhattan liberals and media members around the country, whose hands get dirty in the normal course of their day only if the ink on the Times isn't quite dry yet. Workers in real jobs would obviously just laugh at the travails of the stressed Obama-ites, but how many of them are going to read that piece? In the world of the NY Times and its audience, that's hard-hitting, important journalism on one of the major issues of the day...



(H/T: Instapundit)

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Strategic Angle - Jim Geraghty on National Review Online

Excellent piece on the strategy and tactics of the Reid-Angle race by Jim Geraghty, who has been all over it on National Review Online.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, finds himself with only one remaining advantage: money.

He’s a fossil in an anti-incumbent year, his job-approval and personal-favorability ratings are terrible, the state’s unemployment and housing troubles are probably the nation’s worst, and the next Nevadan to rave about Reid’s smooth charisma will be the first. For a long while, everyone in Nevada politics has known Reid had one shot at reelection: Define Angle early, destroy her reputation in an onslaught of negative ads, and eke out a victory in a low-turnout matchup.

“Reid gets it, but he thinks we’re going to play by the normal challenger playbook and sit on our cash,” says Jordan Gehrke, deputy campaign manager for Angle. “Republicans across America will be there to support us if we’re still in a competitive race after Labor Day. But that means they have to see us fighting back now, and so that’s what we’re doing.

Read it all...

I have not yet decided what would give me more pleasure come November 3rd - a Republican controlled Senate that includes Harry Reid, or a Democrat controlled Senate that doesn't. Obviously, a Reidless Republican Senate is the best case, but given the choice between one or the other of the first two, it would be a tough choice to make.

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Monday, August 09, 2010

Monday Pythagorean Report - 8/9/2010

A dismal 3-4 week, a week in which they matched poor pitching with poor offense to finish with a poor record.

  • The big story of the week wasn't actually their disappointing play, but the injury to, and subsequent loss for the rest of the season of, their best offensive player, Kevin Youkilis.
  • I said last week that 3 of 4 from Cleveland wasn't good enough. They promptly went on to win 2 of 4. And it wasn't good enough. If they fall short, those two will be on the short list of lamentable failures that made the difference between playing in October and sitting home to watch the Yankees win again. But. The Tampa Bay Rays did their darnedest to keep Boston in it, going 2-5 on the week, finishing the week on a five game losing streak, and coming within one out and a couple of inches of being held hitless in a game for the third time this year.
  • As pathetic as it all was, they lost half a game in the division against New York, and gained a game in the Wild Card race against Tampa.
  • As long as the difference between Boston and Tampa is less than the number of remaining head-to-head games they've got, which is currently six, the Red Sox have that fabled and desirable "control over their own destiny."
  • As long as Beckett and Lackey and Lester pitch like they did this week, and the offense can't tell the difference between CC Sabathia and Dustin Moseley, "control over their own destiny" is worthless.
  • I really was ready to call it when Youkilis went to the DL on Tuesday, but Pedroia's going to be back soon, Ellsbury cannot continue hitting as he has, and Tampa Bay, all of a sudden, has had their magical mystery tour disrupted by a couple of injuries. The Sox are still not out of it, though they cannot afford many more weeks like this one, or many more pitching performances like they've gotten from Lackey and Beckett the last couple of days.
  • I don't know who was hosting WEEI yesterday afternoon, but he was all excited by the fact that the Sox were getting Moseley instead of Burnett last night. "Beckett vs. Moseley is a HUGE advantage to the Red Sox!" I wanted to reach through the radio and shake him. What kind of an idiot thinks that a starting pitcher with little-to-know-prep time is a guaranteed win? Hasn't he watched any Red Sox baseball this year and seen the Scott Atchison starts? I am completely not surprised by the performance last night.
  • And who, exactly, expected Beckett to pitch well last night? And why would you? That World Series game was seven years ago.
    • His ERA against the Yankees in a Red Sox uniform is 5.62.
    • In the last two years, he's now made nine starts against NY. He's given up 7 runs, 8 runs twice and 9 runs. His ERA is 7.54.
    • In his last five starts against the Yankees, he's allowed 34 runs (32 earned), 42 hits (10 HR) and 11 walks and 3 HBP in 27 1/3 IP, for a sparkling 10.54 ERA.
    Maybe he'll pitch a good game against them again some day, but right now, if I'm a Yankee fan, there's no one I'd prefer to see start for the Red Sox.
  • Thank God Ellsbury's back! Ok, yeah, he's been awful, but there's rust, and he's certainly not the only one, so the sarcasm's not necessary. It's only the performance of Ryan Kalish that prevented a historically bad week for the outfield. In fact, he might not have even managed to prevent it. JD Drew, Ellsbury and Darnell McDonald combined to hit a sub-Cashian .070/.184/.093/.277 in 50 plate appearances. They'd have been much better off with Eddie Gaedel and his plastic bat taking those plate appearances.
  • Red Sox Player of the Week: - Adrian Beltre, who hit .370/.379/.852/1.231 with 3 HR, and continues to be the most consistent offensive performer on the team this year. Special mention to Ryan Kalish, who hit .389/.450/.611/1.061 with 1 HR in his first full week in The Show.
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week: - Daisuke Matsuzaka, (who, for some reason, they haven't cut yet despite all of the cries for his ouster), allowed 7 baserunners (5 hits, 2 walks) and only one run in 8 innings of work, striking out 6, in what was far and away the team's best start of the week.



AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 8/9/2010
ProjectedActual
R/G(rank)RA/G(rank)Pythagorean(rank)WLWLLuck
New York5.37(1)4.11(6)0.62(1)684269411
Tampa Bay5(3)3.9(1)0.612(2)68436744-1
Texas4.97(4)4.08(5)0.589(3)65466447-1
Minnesota4.93(5)4.06(4)0.588(4)66466349-3
Chicago4.59(7)4.04(3)0.559(5)624963481
Boston5.1(2)4.56(9)0.551(6)625063491
Toronto4.75(6)4.32(7)0.544(7)60515952-1
Oakland4.15(11)3.96(2)0.521(8)57535654-1
Los Angeles4.54(8)4.71(11)0.483(9)555856571
Detroit4.34(9)4.66(10)0.468(10)525954572
Cleveland4.04(12)4.83(12)0.419(11)476547650
Kansas City4.19(10)5.28(13)0.396(12)446747643
Seattle3.25(14)4.37(8)0.368(13)417142701
Baltimore3.67(13)5.36(14)0.333(14)377437740

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
New York10260
Tampa Bay9864
Texas9369
Chicago9270
Minnesota9171

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
New York10161
Tampa Bay9864
Texas9468
Minnesota9270
Chicago9270

Standings for the week
ProjectedActual
R/G(rank)RA/G(rank)Pythagorean(rank)WLWLLuck
Toronto6.17(1)4.17(7)0.672(1)42511
Texas4.67(4)3.17(3)0.67(2)4233-1
Oakland3.67(11)2.5(1)0.668(3)42420
Chicago4.43(7)3.14(2)0.652(4)5243-1
Baltimore4.67(4)3.67(4)0.609(5)42511
Minnesota4.86(3)4.29(8)0.557(6)43430
New York4.67(4)4.5(9)0.517(7)33330
Los Angeles5.33(2)5.33(13)0.5(8)3324-1
Cleveland4.43(7)4.71(10)0.471(9)34340
Seattle3.33(13)4(6)0.417(10)33330
Tampa Bay4.14(9)5.14(12)0.402(11)3425-1
Boston3.57(12)4.71(10)0.376(12)34340
Detroit3.71(10)5.86(14)0.303(13)25250
Kansas City1.83(14)3.83(5)0.206(14)15241

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Health reform's bureaucratic spawn

Health reform's bureaucratic spawn

Don’t bother trying to count up the number of agencies, boards and commissions created under the new health care law. Estimating the number is “impossible,” a recent Congressional Research Service report says, and a true count “unknowable.”

The reasons for the uncertainty are many, according to CRS’s Curtis W. Copeland, the author of the report “New Entities Created Pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

The provisions of the law that create the new entities vary dramatically in specificity.

The law says a lot about some of them and a little about many, and merely mentions a few. Some have been authorized without any instructions on who is to appoint whom, when that might happen and who will pay.

Those agencies created without specific appointment or appropriations procedures will have to wait indefinitely for staff and funding before they can function, according to Copeland’s report.

And others could be just the opposite: One entity might not be enough and could spawn others, resulting in an “indeterminate number of new organizations.”

What could possibly go wrong?

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Chicago Boyz » Blog Archive » Brooding

At the Chicago Boyz blog, Lexington Green is brooding on the cultural confidence of the American cultural elite (i.e., leftists). And he has an excellent question.

But I go back to my initial question. Why does an elite that is actually not admirable in what it does, and not effective or productive, that has added little or nothing of value to the civilizational stock, that cannot possibly do the things it claims it can do, that services rent-seekers and the well-connected, that believes in an incoherent mishmash of politically correct platitudes, that is parasitic, have such an elevated view of itself?

Read it all...

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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Missouri Proposition C - 2010

It was primary day in Missouri yesterday, and one of the items on the ballot was Proposition C, a proposal which gave voters the ability to vote on whether Missouri residents should be obligated to abide by the individual mandate of Obamacare. A Yes vote indicated that Missourians should not be obliged to purchase health insurance; a No vote indicated support for the individual mandate. So this was essentially the first opportunity for individual voters to express their opinion of the "Health Care Reform" bill rammed through passed in to law last spring.

So Yes votes were votes against Obamacare, Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Congress.

The Yes votes won. Overwhelmingly.

This is a wonderful map of the county-by-county results. Two counties in the state, the ones including Kansas City and St. Louis, voted no on the proposition. Every other county voted yes, as Proposition C ended up passing by a margin of 71-29 %.

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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The Campaign Spot - National Review Online

Jim Geraghty has a campaign press release from the Sharron Angle campaign (she's running against Harry Reid), and it has a great, attention-grabbing title:

HARRY REID’S PLAN TO SAVE THE NEVADA ECONOMY: COKED-UP STIMULUS MONKEYS

And it's accurate!

Go ahead, read the whole thing - you know you want to...

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Laffer vs. Zakariah: Who’s Right?

Roger Kimball:
When the subject turns to taxes and politicians and pundits start talking about “fairness” you can be sure that is foreplay for policies that penalize success. The punitive aspect is essential. Which is why pointing out that raising taxes on productive citizens will decrease revenues and threaten to prolong the recession cuts no ice with egalitarians. For them, the really attractive thing about raising taxes is not that it helps the poor (which it doesn’t) but that it hurts society’s producers, a.k.a. “the rich” (most of whom of course, are not rich, i.e., not in a position to spend $2 million on their daughter’s wedding: no, you have to labor long and hard as a public servant in the Democratic party to afford that sort of extravagance).

The truly amazing thing is that someone wants to argue that the Bush tax cuts, enacted in 2001, are the cause of the deficit. From 2002-2008, federal tax revenues rose at an annualized rate of ~5.2%.

That's right. The federal government, after the passage of those draconian Bush tax cuts, source, according to some, of all evil, saw its revenues rise at over 5.2% per year. So, if the federal revenues were rising that way (which is very close to US GDP over that same period, which rose about ~5.3% per year) how did the deficit get out of control? Spending! Federal spending, over that same period, rose by approximately 6.6% per year. There are two sides to the deficit equation, inflow and outlay. If inflows are increasing at 5% annualized rate, you've got to be pretty profligate to run a massive deficit.1

And we'll leave the last word to Wilkins Micawber, who understood this.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.





1 - We saw this exact same dynamic play out with the Reagan tax cuts of the 80s. Democrats wailed about starving children, federal revenues rose significantly with the economic expansion, spending rose faster, and the tax cuts were blamed for the deficits...

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Monday, August 02, 2010

Monday Pythagorean Report - 8/2/2010

This week was a big improvement over the last one, as the injured are trickling back, and the Sox put together a 5-1 week that saw them gain 1 1/2 games in the division, and lose a half game in the Wild Card race...

  • Yes, that's true. They went 5-1 and lost ground in the Wild Card race as Tampa went 6-1 on the week. They did make up ground on the 4-3 Yankees. The Rays are now 20-7 in their last 27 games and, if they continue to play at a .741 clip, the Red Sox aren't going to catch them. I don't believe that they're going to continue to play at a .741 clip.
  • I liked the Jeremy Hermida signing. He's at the right age for a peak year, he's had some Major League success in the past, and there was reason to expect him to be a productive player. I'm less enamored of his release, for all the reasons that I liked the signing, but he's been dreadful in Boston. He's played poorly both offensively and defensively, and has given no indication that we could expect anything better going forward. Certainly, he's shown no reason to expect him to be any better than Daniel Nava or Darnell McDonald or Ryan Khalish, and, therefore, no reason to hold on to him.
  • I like the Saltalamacchia acquisition. Yes, he's been a disappointment for the past couple of years. That's why they were able to get him for a handful of magic beans. Will he put it together and become the impact player that people thought he'd be? Probably not. But there's a reason that he was a very highly-acclaimed prospect, and he wouldn't be the first catcher to mature late. Low risk, possibility of high reward acquisition.
  • I don't know that I care much one way or the other about the Ramirez trade. But I do know this - after a dominant first two months in a Red Sox uniform, he's been a disappointment. He walks too many, his ERA is over 4.00, and he's not someone that I trust in a tight spot. Obviously, the team doesn't trust him in a tight spot, either. So they converted questionable present value into questionable future value, trading a pitcher who has disappointed them for one who hasn't yet had a chance to disappoint them. Daniel Turpen's not going to have an impact on this team this year, but Ramon Ramirez wasn't going to, either, not a positive impact anyway, so they moved on. I think it makes a positive statement about the front office.
  • I also think that they made a good decision to not give up good prospects to go get a relief pitcher who is not likely to make the team any better than the internal options, Michael Bowden and Felix Doubront, will. There was no one on the trade market who a) didn't have an asking price that was too high and b) would have significantly changed the odds of this team making the playoffs, and winning once there. The players that are here, plus the returning wounded, primarily Pedroia and Ellsbury, are going to determine the outcome of the season. You don't give up a Casey Kelly or a Jose Iglesias without a compelling motivation, and there wasn't one.
  • It was certainly a dramatic week. They scored the winning run in the 7th inning or later in 4 of their 5 wins, and the one loss featured a 9th-inning grand slam that cut a deficit from 5 to 1 on a night that looked like a dead man's march pretty much the whole way. Sunday's win was a little more (OK, a lot more) dramatic than was necessary thanks to a somewhat-less-than-stellar performance from the closer, but on they whole, 5-1, given that the week started on the west coast and featured a red-eye flight, it's OK.
  • Ordinarily, it's not fair to expect, or demand, that a team sweep a four-game series against anyone. Baseball's a funny game, and bad teams have some good players, too. These are not ordinary time. The Red Sox, in part because of the way their divisional competition has played, in part through a terrible start, and largely due to injuries, have dug themselves a big hole. There's time to come back, but there's isn't time to do it if they don't start right now. And part of digging out of that hole is not losing to bad teams in home games. So they've got the Indians for four to start the week, and they need to win all four. These games are important. They're going in to New York for four starting Friday - they really need to be going in on a six-game winning streak.
  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Marco Scutaro, who hit .429/.484/.679/1.162 for the week, and supplemented that with a couple of signature moments, including a tie-breaking 8th inning grand slam in LAnaheim, and a walk-off bunt in yesterday's rubber game against Detroit.
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - The choice this week was an easy one, as Clay Buchholz put up two outstanding starts, clearly recovered from not only the hamstring pull, but the rust that marred his first outing. He allowed three runs in 15 innings of work, and two of the three scored with Papelbon on the mound, as he took a shutout in to the ninth inning yesterday.


AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 8/2/2010
ProjectedActual
R/G(rank)RA/G(rank)Pythagorean(rank)WLWLLuck
Tampa Bay5.06(3)3.82(1)0.626(1)653965390
New York5.41(1)4.09(4)0.626(2)653966381
Minnesota4.93(5)4.05(2)0.59(3)62435946-3
Texas4.99(4)4.13(6)0.585(4)614461440
Boston5.2(2)4.55(9)0.561(5)594660451
Chicago4.61(7)4.1(5)0.553(6)584659451
Toronto4.67(6)4.32(7)0.535(7)56495451-2
Oakland4.17(11)4.05(3)0.514(8)53515252-1
Los Angeles4.5(8)4.67(11)0.482(9)525554532
Detroit4.38(9)4.58(10)0.48(10)505452522
Cleveland4.01(12)4.84(12)0.415(11)446144610
Kansas City4.32(10)5.36(13)0.403(12)426345603
Seattle3.25(14)4.39(8)0.366(13)396739670
Baltimore3.61(13)5.46(14)0.319(14)34713273-2
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
New York10359
Tampa Bay10161
Texas9468
Boston9369
Chicago9270
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
New York10260
Tampa Bay10161
Texas9468
Minnesota9369
Boston9270
Standings for the week
ProjectedActual
R/G(rank)RA/G(rank)Pythagorean(rank)WLWLLuck
Minnesota8.17(1)1.67(1)0.948(1)60600
Toronto5.83(3)2.5(3)0.825(2)5142-1
Chicago6.29(2)2.71(4)0.823(3)61610
Tampa Bay4.14(6)2.14(2)0.77(4)52611
New York4.29(5)2.86(5)0.677(5)5243-1
Boston5.17(4)3.5(6)0.671(6)42511
Texas3.5(10)3.67(7)0.479(7)33330
Los Angeles3.67(8)4.5(9)0.407(8)24240
Oakland2.67(12)3.83(8)0.34(9)24240
Detroit3(11)4.71(10)0.304(10)2516-1
Baltimore3.57(9)6.14(12)0.27(11)2516-1
Kansas City4(7)7.71(14)0.231(12)25341
Cleveland2.57(13)5.14(11)0.22(13)25341
Seattle2(14)6.43(13)0.106(14)1607-1

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